February 29, 2020 / 3:31 PM / 3 months ago

Iran's Rouhani says innocent people in Syria's Idlib should be protected - TV

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told his Turkish counterpart on Saturday that innocent people should be protected in Syria’s northwest province, as tensions rose between Moscow and Ankara over the fighting there.

“Idlib’s situation is very complicated, considering the presence of dangerous terrorists that should be uprooted and necessity to protect innocent people living there,” Rouhani told Tayyip Erdogan in a telephone conversation, according to Iranian state TV.

Erdogan said on Saturday he had asked Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to step aside in Syria and leave Turkey to deal with Syrian government forces alone, after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed this week.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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